With Towel Day just around the corner, H2G2 – The Game turns 30


While longtime H2G2 fans will immediately remember the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy radio and TV series, how many actually remember the H2G2 game? First, you have to set the Wayback Machine to 1984. It was then that Steve Meretzky of Infocom got together with H2G2 creator, Douglas Adams, to create a game based around the radio series of the same name. At the time, however, no one recognized the insanity a game like this given the limitations of the day.

As Richard Harris wrote for DouglasAdams.com: “…it’s hard to believe that, some 30 years ago (1984), there was a time when computer games didn’t have graphics. Or at least they couldn’t have graphics and sound at the same time. They certainly couldn’t have graphics, sound and enough content to keep even a human being amused for more than a few minutes. So they had text. This was radical – a computer game you could control by typing in commands!”

Douglas Adams in 1985 on the creation of the H2G2 game
 

 
Fortunately, 30 years have passed and we have been blessed with the arrival of HTML5. Now, the game’s personality has started to shine. From the Department of Be Careful What You Ask For, however, comes this initial warning on the ‘Welcome’ screen…The game will kill you frequently. It’s a bit mean like that.
 
HHGTTG 30th anniversary edition

Fortunately, the brilliant minds over a BBC Radio 4 have supplied you with a tutorial to help you get started. The How to Play tab will help you immensely in limiting the number of times you are killed. If you are still a bit confused, here are a few hints from Douglas Adams, himself.

You may not have your towel yet, but everyone starts at the same place…even Arthur Dent. Remember, DON’T PANIC. You can always hit ‘save’ and then ‘restore’ before you get killed. And, remember Towel Day is just around the corner on May 25!